Shiraz lies near the Persian Gulf, high up in an attractive valley. It is a town of roses, wine, poets, dervishes and philosophers. For centuries, people have made the pilgrimage to Shiraz to visit the tombs of Hafiz and Saadi. No one praised beauty like Hafiz, no one loved it more than Saadi, who actually believed that ugly people should be forbidden to visit the mosque, since they disturbed people’s worship. It is to Shiraz that the dozen or so nomad tribes of the Fars district drive their asses and camels to sell their carpets to the merchants in the bazaars. All these carpets – apart from those of the Kashghai and the Chamese federation – are termed Shiraz carpets. No carpets, however, are woven in the town itself. Some of these nomad tribes are artistically very gifted. Their naive figures and lively colors reflect a spontaneous joy in living.
Today’s Shiraz carpets are among the thinnest in all Persia. The colors are dull, dark blue, dark red, dark grey and dark brown. Even the fringes are dark, being of goat-hair. The only bright color is provided by occasional bone-white knots.
The pattern is geometrical, mainly with medallions in the form of rhombs or up-ended squares. The field is usually filled with all kinds of symbols, amusing figures, stars, spear-heads, birds, animals, small Trees of Life and nameless ornaments.
The large amount of fat in the wool gives the dark colors life; the carpets have a lustre. Their becoming worn after only a few years is due not to the wool, but to the thinness of their weave. Their only positive property is their cheapness. They are made predominantly in small sizes, which give the quickest money. 4ft * 2ft 9in, 5ft * 3ft 3in and 6ft * 4ft 6in are most common formats, since the tribesmen weave their carpets squatting in front of horizontal looms. Extra- large or Gallery (runner) carpets are rare. The “Mecca-Shiraz” belong to the Kashghai carpets ; neither in their quality nor range of colors do they bear any resemblance to today’s Shiraz carpets.
The warp and weft threads are mainly of home – spun goat – hair, so that the fringes are very dark. The manner of knotting is Persian, but “Turkbaffs” , carpets knotted in the Turkish manner, do occur.
No. knots per inch
length breadth No. knots per sq in
A 12 12 144
B 8 9 72
C 6 8 48